(NEW YORK) — Karoline Byler’s kitchen counter was filled with 120 mini-cupcakes Tuesday morning, packed away into three big bags and ready to travel.
Byler isn’t running a cupcake business. She’s the mother of sextuplets, and because it was their birthday, that meant it was her turn to bring cupcakes to school — for six different kindergarten classroom parties.
“I’m not going to lie, it’s a lot,” Byler said with a laugh.
Byler, of Wesley Chapel, Fla., gave birth to Brady, Eli, Ryan, Jackson, Charlie and Mackenzie on Sept. 1, 2007, and has watched as they’ve grown from preemies into kindergarteners. They are Florida’s first sextuplets, according to All Children’s Hospital, the St. Petersburg hospital where they were born.
Now that they’re a little older, this is the first school year that they’ve been separated into six different classrooms.
During their year of pre-kindergarten, three children were in one kindergarten classroom and three were in another. But when Byler and the children’s teachers decided it was best to give them one more year before first grade, they also decided it would be good to split them up.
The more outgoing children didn’t mind being separated from their siblings, she said. For example, Mackenzie, the lone girl in the bunch, has always been able to play on her own.
“Five boys and one girl. No one else has that mix in the United States,” Byler said, adding that it sometimes feels like she has quintuplet boys and a single daughter who just happens to be the same age. “She plays with the boys, but she’s used to being an individual more than the boys.”
But the rest of the Byler children weren’t so easygoing. The shy boys had a hard time starting the school year without a guaranteed friend.
“Jackson, he cried,” Byler said. “I’m not kidding you, he cried all the way to the classroom.”
He wanted to be in the same class as Brady, with whom he shares a room, she said.
But now, three weeks into the school year, they’re becoming more comfortable with the situation. They like their teachers and are making new friends. Plus, they get to see each other during art and gym, which isn’t so bad.
A few children get speech therapy and Ryan, who has cerebral palsy because of a small stroke he had when he was born, gets physical therapy as well.
“I couldn’t be thankful enough,” Byler said.
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